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Not just Canary Mission: SF Jewish Federation bankrolls these hate groups

The Federation’s tax filings reveal a litany of radical-right and anti-Muslim groups that have received its support for years. The Federation says its review process has recently been strengthened but refuses to account for its funding of notorious Islamophobic hate groups.

File photo of an advertisement on a San Francisco public bus accusing the city of enforcing Sharia law, paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which received funding from the SF Jewish Federation. (Steve Rhodes/CC 2.0)

File photo of an advertisement on a San Francisco public bus accusing the city of enforcing Sharia law, paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which received funding from the SF Jewish Federation. (Steve Rhodes/CC 2.0)

Following the revelation last week in The Forward that the San Francisco Jewish Federation gave $100,000 to Canary Mission, the shadowy website that blacklists and intimidates students and professors who criticize Israel, the Federation assured its constituents that it was a “one-time grant” that would never happen again. But Canary Mission is just the tip of the iceberg.

An extensive review by +972 of the Federation’s tax filings shows that the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco and the Helen Diller Family Foundation, which the former controls and which it used to fund Canary Mission, have bankrolled an extensive list of extremist, far-right, anti-Muslim organizations in recent years.

The systematic pattern of financially supporting hate groups appears to also violate the SF Federation’s own guidelines, which specify that it will not fund organizations that “endorse or promote anti-Semitism, other forms of bigotry, violence or other extremist views.”

Among the extremist, radical right-wing, and anti-Muslim groups that received funds from the SF Federation, both directly and through the Diller Foundation, and some of which have received substantial and repeated grants over the years, include: Project Veritas, The AMCHA Initiative, The American Freedom Law Center, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, The David Horowitz Freedom Center, and the work of Islamophobic Dutch politician Geert Wilders (through the International Freedom Alliance Foundation). Others include the Clarion Fund, the Center for Security Policy (Frank Gaffney), the Middle East Forum (Daniel Pipes), the Tea Party Patriots Foundation, and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Project Veritas, which the Federation gave $100,000 in 2016, is responsible for falsifying sexual misconduct allegations against Roy Moore last year to The Washington Post in hopes of entrapping the liberal mainstream media

The AMCHA Initiative, which received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the SF Federation and the Diller Foundation in recent years, operates similarly to Canary Mission, except that it primarily goes after faculty, not students.

The David Horowitz Freedom Center, which has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years, has been condemned by the Southern Poverty Law Center as promoting anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant attitudes.



The American Freedom Law Center and Pamela Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative both target Islam as a threat to Western civilization. The former advances “anti-Sharia” legislation and filed an amicus brief in support of Trump’s Muslim ban. The latter, which has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-Muslim hate group, was responsible for Islamophobic bus campaigns in several cities, and has been represented by the American Freedom Law Center.

+972 Magazine asked the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation about these grants and others that appear to violate its own guidelines against promoting bigotry, violence, and extremist views. The SF Federation’s senior director of communications, Kerry Philp, responded by email:

We review each grant recommendation at the time that it is submitted to the Federation, to determine if the organization adheres to the Federation’s granting guidelines. This applies to organizations across the political spectrum. We aim to make the best decisions with the information that we have at the time. Because organizations are dynamic, an organization that previously received a grant from the Federation may not be in compliance with the Federation’s grantmaking guidelines today, and vice versa. Also, per our statement, we strengthened the implementation of our review process in 2017 and continue to be committed to executing our grant review with a standard of care in regard to our guidelines.

Philp added that the Federation does indeed deny grants when they violate its guidelines but would not address any of the grants to the organizations listed in this article or why they were approved.

The San Francisco Jewish Community Federation is one of the largest Jewish charities in the United States with a budget of nearly a quarter of a billion dollars. Furthermore, it is located in, and presumably represents, one of the most progressive cities and communities in the United States. Whether the SF Federation’s financial support of radical, right-wing, Islamophobic, bigoted, and McCarthyite groups aligns with that community’s values is ultimately up to its members.

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    1. john

      “if you’re a racist the world should know.” unless you set up a 501c4 to dissociate your name from your beliefs.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Ben

      ‘In the case of the Canary Mission contribution, indulging donor preferences seems to come at a price to the wider Jewish community.’

      Eva Borgwardt, a senior at Stanford University and currently president of the J Street U National Student Board:

      “It is pretty clear that the organized Jewish community – unless pushed – is never going to be as rigorous at enforcing boundaries on the right as it is on the left. This comes from an extremely misplaced sense of what is a threat to our community.
      We students see the damage that Canary Mission is doing on our campuses.
      And we know that this is not where our community should be placing its energy. I think the organized Jewish community has to make a choice as to whether it cares more about these donors or about Jewish values. And it will have to decide whether or not it is going to listen to the young Jews who want to rise to meet those values. We’ve been trying to express this to them for years now.”


      Reply to Comment
    3. Komas

      +972 gets funded by the German green party.

      Reply to Comment
      • john

        way to expose the devastating secrets of the ‘about’ page:
        2018 (Figures will be updated throughout the year)
        $121,000 – *Reader support (as of September)
        $118,000 from Just Vision as contribution to Local Call (USA)
        $70,000 – A grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (USA)
        $20,000 – A grant from the Foundation for Middle East Peace (USA)
        $19,000 – A grand from Rosa Luxemburg Foundation
        $14,500 – A grant from Heinrich Böll Stiftung Israel.
        $1,400 – A grant from Two Flags One Future (Israel)
        $800 – Advertising

        Reply to Comment
    4. Peter Dahu

      Why am I not surprised that this Federation supports hate groups?

      Reply to Comment
    5. Ben

      Daniel Gold (“I hope your website goes down”) perfectly expresses the real ethos and mission and ethics of Canary Mission and its supporters in the Federation.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Margaret Katheryn

      This congregation sounds very much like what I have heard from my fellow Southerners throughout the years (except in our case, our racism has extended to Jews as well as all Others who do not fit within our identity circle).

      Our reputation is known world wide. As soon as you say you are a Southerner, people know. I can not imagine any people deliberately courting such a reputation as we have. Because once you are known as a racist people, you never lose that reputation.

      Reply to Comment